When history looks back at the World Cup in Russia 2018, one of the lasting memories will be the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) on the world’s biggest stage.
The tournament to date has seen penalties galore, following the penalties converted by Japan’s Shinji Kagawa (£0.89) and Egypt’s Mohamed Salah (£8.24) in yesterday’s action means that the tournament has now seen ten penalties awarded to date. The incredible statistic is that in just under 60% of matches so far the referee has pointed to the spot be it via VAR or not. This is significantly up on previous World Cups where the total was 20% of games in Brazil in 2014 and 23% four years earlier in South Africa. There could be any number of reasons for the stark increase and let’s not forget we have only just finished the first round of matches but undoubtedly VAR is having an effect on penalties being awarded but does this give an opportunity to traders?
In my opinion, the answer is an emphatic ‘Yes’. With emotions running so high at the World Cup the time from a penalty being awarded to taken is always likely to be longer and with VAR checking refereeing decisions, the time is only set to increase to make sure that clear and obvious mistakes aren’t made. This means that penalty takers are often known well in advance of taking their run up, giving Football INDEX traders ample time to potentially purchase shares in said penalty taker. Furthermore, with most World Cup games being incredibly tight should the penalty be converted there is a huge opportunity that the goal will be a crucial game-winning goal, garnering a massive 80 match day ranking points (40 for the goal and 40 for the game-winning goal). Meaning match day dividends winners could be decided from the spot. Unsurprisingly several traders have spotted this opportunity and the following examples show the potential to profit from VAR.
The first example was in Tuesday’s hectic start in the Japan versus Colombia game where Carlos Sanchez (£0.42) saw red for the South Americans after just three minutes for thinking he was the goalkeeper and stopping a certain goal. An absolute nailed on penalty if ever there was one. Three minutes after the referee’s decision, Japan’s Shinji Kagawa (£0.89) stepped forwarded to put the underdogs into a 1-0 lead against ten men. The Index reacted immediately with his share price jumping by £0.20 from £0.89 to highs of £1.09, an increase of 22%. With the goal coming so early in the game it meant that the former Manchester United man could still be purchased before the dividends cut off also. The match ended 2-1 to Japan of course meaning Kagawa’s goal wasn’t the game winning goal and his price has dropped back down to the same value it was before kick-off, but the events highlight the opportunity to profit.
A similar scenario was played out in the Sweden versus South Korea game on Monday. In the sixty-fifth minute the Swedes were awarded a penalty and captain Andreas Granqvist (£0.39) stepped forward to give them the lead. The FK Krasnodar defender was trading at £0.36 at kick off and saw his price jump to £0.48 after scoring, an increase of £0.12 or 33%. Not only that but the Swedish captain’s goal was the game winning goal as they ran out 1-0 winners over South Korea and he also took home Monday’s star player, meaning he won £0.06 in dividends. A further return on investment of 16% had you purchased shares before the game.
What these couple of examples show are the opportunities to traders should the penalties continue to be awarded thanks to VAR. I’m off to research penalty takers!
P.S – We know France’s is Antoine Griezmann (£5.23), Australia’s is Mile Jedinak (£0.46) and Croatia’s is Luka Modric (£1.25) after their successful strikes but Peru’s Christian Cueva (£0.76) and Argentina’s Lionel Messi (£9.72) both missed against Denmark and Iceland respectively, will this mean they’re off penalty duties today? But what of the Danes, surely its Spurs Christian Eriksen (£3.25)?
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